Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Reuters' article on The Post withdrawing from right-wing march and concert

This event is scheduled for two weeks before Operation Ceasefire. Clearly it looks like The Washington Post is finally beginning to come to its senses. But there's a long road to travel to reclaim the credibility it had during the Watergate era... This event is disgusting and Clint Black should be ashamed. I am sure the 9/11 families will speak out very soon.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Post dropped its sponsorship on Monday of a walk organized by the Pentagon to remember victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and to support U.S. troops, saying it was possible the event would become "politicized."

The newspaper's news employees' union had urged the newspaper to reconsider co-sponsoring the Defense Department's "Freedom Walk," which it said was a political event.

Critics of the war in Iraq gathering for demonstrations in Washington beginning on September 24 also had criticized media outlets for co-sponsoring the Pentagon event. The Washington Post was one of several local media organizations that had signed on to promote the walk.

"As it appears that this event could become politicized, The Post has decided to honor the Washington-area victims of 9/11 by making a contribution directly to the Pentagon Memorial Fund," Eric Grant, a Post spokesman, said in the newspaper's Tuesday edition. "It is The Post's practice to avoid activities that might lead readers to question the objectivity of The Post's news coverage."

The Post article said the newspaper had notified the Department of Defense that it would no longer donate public service advertising space to promote the Pentagon walk.

The Post spokesman was not immediately available for further comment.

Leaders of the newspaper's unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Local 32035 delivered a resolution to publisher Bo Jones' office stating its concerns over linking the paper to the Pentagon event, unit co-chairman Rick Weiss said.

"The statement urged Post management to reconsider the decision co-sponsoring this event in the interest of maintaining the paper's reputation for neutrality on polarizing issues of public policy," Weiss said.

According to excerpts published on the Editor and Publisher Web site, the resolution said: "Post news employees are subject to disciplinary action for participating in political activities that may be perceived as revelatory of personal opinions or bias. The Washington Post itself should be held to the same high standard."

The resolution said the prominent participation of country music star Clint Black belies arguments that the walk was not a political activity in support of the war in Iraq.

Black is headlining a concert outside the Pentagon after the walk. The guild unit's resolution said Black was "best known of late for his war-glorifying song 'Iraq and I Roll.' "

Friday, August 12, 2005

Operation Ceasefire in the news

You can go to Google and type in "'Operation Ceasefire' concert" and get a bunch of stories. Here is our press release:

Free Music Festival in Opposition to Iraq War
Diverse Musicians Discuss ‘Operation Ceasefire’
Concert and Rally showpiece of 4 days of massive action against the war

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today organizers of Operation Ceasefire, a new coalition of concerned musicians, held a press conference to announce a day long music festival and rally calling for an end to the Iraq War. The massive free anti-war concert/rally will be held at the Washington Monument on September 24th and will be a showpiece of what is expected to be 4 days of enormous protests in the nation’s capital in support of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the quagmire in Iraq.

The concert will bring together artists from several different genres, including: International Recording Stars Thievery Corporation, Punk-rock bands LeTigre, Bouncing Souls, Country music recording artist Steve Earle, independent artists Ted Leo + The Pharmacists, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 with the Bellrays, Socially conscious Hip-Hop groups like The Coup and Head-Roc, Latin rock group Machtres along with host Jello Biafra. Additional artists are likely to be added to the lineup which is scheduled to feature over 10 hours of live music.

At the press conference musicians joined with anti-war organizers from United for Peace and Justice to make the case for taking action to stop the war. Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation said, “The idea of this concert struck a chord with me. As a private citizen I want to do something because I am very much against all of the post 9/11 wars and occupation…I feel a moral imperative as a human being, who happens to be a musician, to take part in this event.” He added, “I look at our military budget and it is fifty cents of every tax dollar. I feel like we are a military with a country now. We sacrifice our youths, our economic security, and any remaining goodwill around the world.”

“Our actions are of significant importance in this age when doing so is often propagandized as unpatriotic by those who support war and hostilities as a solution to our nation’s disagreements with certain ideologies and cultures,” said Hip Hop artist Head-Roc. “As an artist I believe as many Americans do, that our actions in Iraq have been illegal, unjust and very misleading. I am a firm believer that the actions of this administration along with the handling of information in regards to the consequences of its actions are harmful to the well-being and future of not just American citizens, but many of our fellow world citizens.”

Speaking for United for Peace and Justice, Hany Khalil said, “We are coming to Washington, DC to bring pressure to bear on Congress and the White House to call for an end to the war on Iraq, to bring the troops home now, bring a stop to the torture, and to bring a stop to the military recruiters’ efforts to pressure young people to join the military. We want to see money that is spent now on the war and occupation spent to pay for the damage that the US government has done to the Iraqi people and their country as well as social programs here at home, which are badly needed, such as schools and healthcare.”

Michael Hoffman, Co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War said, “Many Veterans, just like myself, who after participating in the invasion of Iraq realize how wrong this was and that our foreign policy needs to change and that we need to bring our troops home now. Operation Ceasefire is going to wake people up.”

Another press conference participant, Elizabeth Frederick of Military Families Speak Out spoke of her boyfriend of over three years who has been stationed in Iraq since January. “My boyfriend’s contract ended in April of 2005, but because of stop-loss, he is still in Iraq and will not return until later this year. I’m not exactly sure when he is coming home because the dates keep getting pushed back. In July alone he was given three different return dates. According to him, the amount of chaos and disorganization over there regarding not only return dates, but also supplies, armor, etc. is simply appalling. Every conversation I have with Mike reinforces the fact that this war was based on lies and there are no clear goals or reasons for continuing the occupation. I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to him on the phone and he has said, ‘none of us know what we are doing here.’...Last night four soldiers from Task Force Liberty were killed in an area north of Baghdad. Until I till I talk to my boyfriend again, I will not know if he was one of those soldiers. I don’t want anyone to feel that and I don’t want to feel it anymore.”

Most Operation Ceasefire performers were not in attendance at today’s press conference, but issued the following statements today.

Wayne Kramer of The MC5, “The soul of America weeps for the dead youth of this illegal and immoral war. It is time to step up and be heard. The place is here. The time is now.”

Greg Attonito of The Bouncing Souls, “It’s really mind boggling to me that any of us in humanity continue to wage war on each other for any reason. Has any one who started these wars watched the history channel lately? It doesn't work. We all have to refuse to take part in domination and control of other human beings. This is most important for military personnel. If they refuse to fight, war cannot happen. As long as the people agree to take part in war, it will continue. That also goes for all the little wars we continue to wage on a personal level. We can all stop war by standing up for ourselves in a non-violent way. In this way we empower ourselves and we empower the energy of peace for the entire world.”

Boots Riley of the The Coup, “With this war, there are millions of people the world over who are vocally against it. There are millions of people with a high level of clarity as to the economic motivations for this war. If we don't stop this war it will set a new precedent as to how easy it is for the ruling class to enact policies to which most of the population is diametrically opposed. We must stop this war.”

Johanna Fateman, “Le Tigre is proud to be involved with Operation Ceasefire. We condemn the illegitimate presidency of George W. Bush and his administration of criminals, liars and war-profiteers.”

Steve Earle, “This war is rapidly becoming the elephant in the drawing room that no one wants to talk about. Meanwhile people are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and we at home continue to walk around with targets on our backs.”

Jello Biafra, “Hijacking 9/11 to invade Iraq is the worst mistake our government has made in my lifetime. The whole war on terror has been turned into a scam. Our lives are at stake. Our soldiers’ lives are at stake. The best way to support the troops is to bring them home, now. The most patriotic thing any of us can do is to rise up and fight our government when they break the law. No more illegal wars. No more torture on foreign shores. If we let the White House get away with any of this, Abu Gharaib and Gitmo at home are right around the corner.”

More information at WWW.OPCEASEFIRE.ORG






Sponsored by esl music, Mintwood media collective,

UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, and the DC Anti-War network

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Operation Ceasefire

I have been working hard on a promising project with Adam Eidinger, who ran during the last election as D.C.'s delegate to the House of Representatives on the Statehood/Green Party. Operation Ceasefire is an anti-war concert at the Washington Monument on the evening of the September 24th peace mobilization. Local electronica duo Thievery Corporation are fronting half the startup costs. They intend to make a live CD and DVD of the concert, and all proceeds will benefit United for Peace and Justice and the local group I am involved with the D.C. Anti-War Network.

Acts who have signed on to this historical concert:
Thievery Corporation
Le Tigre
Bouncing Souls
Steve Earle
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
Wayne Kramer of MC-5
Jello Biafra

We are excited with the potential for this event to grow! We will have a press conference this Wednesday at noon at The National Press Club in downtown D.C.

For a little more information: